In the past cannabis has been the scapegoat of mental health professionals. Much research indicates that use of the plant is responsible for a myriad of mental health problems. However, new research seems to point in a different direction.
“Our findings suggest caution in the implementation of policies related to legalization of cannabis for recreational use,” write the researchers of a new study, “as it may lead to greater availability and acceptance of cannabis, reduced perception of risk of use and increased risk of adverse mental health outcomes, such as substance use disorders.”
The study, which was published in JAMA Psychiatry, indicates that cannabis does not increase users’ risks of developing mood or anxiety disorders, reports The Telegraph.
The new study represents a survey of approximately 35,000 U.S. adults, who were nationally representative. The researchers gauged their marijuana usage at the outset and then tracked their mental health over the course of three years.
After the findings were adjusted for several covariates, researchers found “cannabis use was not associated with increased risk for developing mood or anxiety disorders.”
While much about the research was positive, a few drawbacks remain. According to the study, cannabis use “significantly increased risk for developing alcohol, cannabis and other drug use disorders.” Nicotine dependence was noted as a drawback as well. The research indicated that people who reported cannabis use were nearly three times more likely to have alcohol or other drug use disorders and nearly twice as likely to be nicotine dependent.